Staff Picks 2013 September

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Staff Picks September 2013 (1.7MB)

The Good Lord BirdThe Good Lord Bird by James McBride. This is the story of John Brown as told through the eyes of a young boy who is taken in by Brown after his father is killed. McBride's plot and the evocation of the time and place of this novel is extraordinary, and his portrait of John Brown is both flamboyant and in a strange way reverential. Brown comes across as a single minded fanatic, not quite mad but not entirely sane either. A terrifically engrossing read. Highly recommended. ~ Erik Barnum

The Last First DayThe Last First Day by Carrie Brown. The atmosphere of fall in New England permeates this subtle novel about growing old while making sense of life. As the headmaster and wife of a small prep school prepare to retire, the reader rides the gentle waves of deep feelings that surge between them as their relationship comes full circle. Strangely suspenseful, yet comforting. ~ Karen Frank

Ruth, a woman entering her twilight years, reflects on her marriage to a compassionate prep school headmaster and the mysterious origins of her life with her father, a man of secrets and silences. A pivotal relationship with a wise psychiatrist lends insight to a life in which pain and love are jumbled together in untidy beauty. ~ Amy Palmer

Then We Take BerlinThen We Take Berlin by John Lawton. Joe Holderness (nicknamed Wilderness), a Cockney orphan trained in housebreaking by his grandfather, becomes an MI6 spy in post-WWII occupied Berlin. Years later, old friends and enemies lure him back into espionage. A powerful thriller, exactingly researched, sharply drawn characters and locales. First of a new series. ~ Louise Jones The Explanation for EverythingThe Explanation For Everything by Lauren Grodstein. The debate forever rages between atheist Darwinists and those who believe in Intelligent Design. This story articulates all the shades of grey that are so important to the real life discussion. Sensitive, haunting and memorable. ~ Karen Frank MaddAddamMaddAddam by Margaret Atwood. The stunning conclusion of the MaddAddam Trilogy proves that compassion and solidarity are not signs of weakness, but necessary traits for survival. An intense read that increased my faith in humanity and the power of love. ~ Jess Krawczyk
The Fountain of St. James Court; Or, Portrait of the Artist as an Old WomanThe Fountain of St. James Court; Or, Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman by Sena Jeter Naslund. Naslund tells my favorite kind of story - rich with history, character and conflict, where research and historical context add brightness and depth to the story of a modern writer who channels an historical figure to feed her own work. S plendidly absorbing. ~ Karen Frank EnonEnon by Paul Harding. A man's life veers wildly out of control after the death of his only child in this unstinting examination of willful self-destruction, beautifully rendered and all the more harrowing for its eloquence. A sequel of sorts to the author's Pulitzer prize-winning Tinkers. ~ Alden Graves Visitation StreetVisitation Street by Ivy Pochoda. On a summer night in Brooklyn's multiracial Red Hook section, two teenage girls ride a raft into the bay; only one returns. Their adventure reverberates through the community, changing the lives of friends, family and observers. Vivid, stunning, beautifully written. ~ Louise Jones
  JapantownJapantown by Barry Lancet. Brodie, an American antiques dealer, inherits part of his father's Tokyo private investigation business. When a Japanese family visiting San Francisco is murdered, the only clue a slip of paper with an unusual Japanese character, Brodie recognizes it as the same one left at the scene of his wife's murder years ago. Highly entertaining. ~ Sarah Knight Night FilmNight Film by Marisha Pessl. A brilliant literary thriller, but more than that. Pessl ingeniously weaves together elements and themes of classic horror novels and films like a master collector of artistic moments. A truly haunting story that will consume you for days. ~ Whitney Kaaz
Something Abides: Discovering the Civil War in Today's VermontSomething Abides: Discovering the Civil War in Today's Vermont by Howard Coffin. County by county and town by town, Vermont's rich Civil War history comes to light. This important guide makes you want to explore and shows how great a sacrifice our tiny state made. A must for a native Vermonter. My own ancestor: Col. Wm. T. Nichols, page 326. ~ Sarah Teunissen The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World WarThe Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World by Richard Rubin. The past is often as real as the present; talking to living eyewitnesses (all more than 100 years old) proves the point. This astonishing, hugely rewarding reading experience shows us why we love history and reminds us to talk with older folks: they are, not were, history. Highest Recommendation. ~ Bill Lewis
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9th WOMEN READ Life in a Jar: Irena Sendler Project by Jack Mayer

10th COOKBOOK Indian Home Cooking: A Fresh Introduction to Indian Food by Suvir Saran, Stephanie Lyness

16th DARK SIDE River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey by Candice Millard

17th HISTORY The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Vol. IV by Robert A. Caro

19th MYSTERY & THRILLER Lost by Michael Robotham

26th POETRY title TBA
The Mushroom Hunters: On the Trail of an Underground AmericaMushroom Hunters: On the Trail of an Underground America by Langdon Cook. What's more interesting than the fungi themselves? The people who hunt them. Cook, an avid amateur mycologist, hits the trail with the pros. He discovers a world of secret patches, cash-only deals, delicious wild food and some very peculiar people. ~ Stan Hynds JFK's Last Hundred Days: The Transformation of a Man and the Emergence of a Great PresidentJFK'S Last Hundred Days: The Transformation of a Man and the Emergence of a Great President by Thurston Clarke. After two years of crises, Kennedy was a very different president as summer turned to autumn in 1963. A sensible, well written, well-argued answer to the 50 year-old question: What if John F. Kennedy had lived? ~ Bill Lewis
The Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan EnglandThe Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan England by Ian Mortimer. Learning should always be this enjoyable. Reading Mortimer is as close as any 21st century reader (with even an ounce of imagination) can get to experiencing "what it was really like." P.S. His Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England is just as good. Highest Recommendation. ~ Bill Lewis The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror, and Empire at the Dawn of the American CenturyThe President and the Assassin by Scott Miller. The paths of President William McKinley and an avowed anarchist named Leon Czolgosz draw inexorably together in this meticulously researched examination of American history at the turn of the 20th century. Engrossing, exciting and vastly informative reading. ~ Alden Graves
Foldable Reading Glasses. Beyond regular reading glasses, Twist & Read Glasses fold completely flat and fit into an ultrathin case. When you need them the arms click and twist into place. Made in Italy and available in variety of colors and five strengths. ~ Alison Clark Close to Shore: The Terrifying Shark Attacks of 1916Close to Shore by Michael Capuzzo. The true horror story of shark attacks off the New Jersey coast in 1916 that served as the basis for Peter Benchley's bestseller, Jaws. Filled with fascinating details about sharks and the fallacy that existed well into the 20th century that they were harmless. ~ Alden Graves